Words are powerful...we all know this. And yet, knowing this, we still manage to inflict such terrible wounds on each other. I have long thought that some people just don't have that filter, the one that reminds them to bite their tongue, and instead they just spew out whatever they are thinking without much reflection on how that might affect the person being spewed upon. No doubt there are countless others who go to the extreme opposite, keeping feelings and thoughts bottled up within them, allowing them to fester. Surely there must be a middle ground.
Long ago I mastered the art of giving whomever I was furious with a huge piece of my mind. I would spill out all of the things about them that truly bugged me, really lambasting them with the cutting edge of my tongue. But always, always, always somewhere they could never hear me. I cannot even recall how many times while my children were teenagers that I got into my car, alone, and drove around town, ripping them up one side and down the other. Sometimes in the middle of the rant I would think of something better to say and start all over again. I was eloquent in my verbosity. Only after I had finished with my last "and another thing" would I return home, calm, relaxed and ready to deal with whatever had driven me into the car.
That lesson in dealing with teenagers has been invaluable thru the years, especially since I now work from home. Because I am not even in the same state as my boss, I am completely free to call her an idiot...I just have to make sure the phone call has been terminated! It is not unusual for me to keep a running narrative while I read work related emails...something I could not do if I worked in an office setting. A friend told me that when she gets ridiculous, silly or outright insulting emails, she finds it therapeutic to write a scathing response and then delete. That's great, but what if you accidentally hit send? Then what do you do? With an entire state between me and clients, I am pretty sure I can't be heard, plus there is something very satisfying about actually speaking the words out loud.
I was in Target this past weekend, just wandering around, looking at things I don't really need but like to look at, when I passed a mother berating her son for reaching for a toy when she had apparently told him several times they were not buying a toy. She loudly told him that she was sick and tired of repeating again and again that he can't have a toy. I had three thoughts. First, I cannot hear the words "sick and tired" without thinking of Bill Cosby in his comedy chat about him growing up. His mother had started a phrase "I am sick..." and he finished it with "...and tired!" It didn't go well for him. Then I thought, what are you doing in the toy section if your goal is not to buy a toy? Yes, I am aware that I am being judgmental here, no doubt there are many reasons for them to be there that don't involve a purchase. But I am not in favor of yelling at kids, especially not in stores, and if she is just browsing, window shopping as it were, she needs to do that when her little boy isn't with her. You want to raise a child who hates spending time with you? Yell at him in a store for reacting as a normal kid. My last thought was, wow, this lady really needs to drive around the block a few times and judging by my reaction to her, so did I.